It’s not an exaggeration to say that Sharon Lamont (BA ’80) has touched the lives of hundreds of people, both through her work at the University of Waterloo Library and through countless acts of generosity. It’s also not surprising that she chose to mark her retirement in May 2021 with a gift that reflects more than 45 years of experiences as a Waterloo student, staff member and volunteer.

Sharon married young and started her family right away. Those early years weren’t easy. “I was working part-time as well as going to school, and there were times when we literally had no money,” she says. At one point, she couldn’t afford her studies, and she recalls how grateful she was to receive a bursary that allowed her to continue.

Early in her career, Sharon began volunteering with the Faculty, Staff and Retiree Giving program, among other initiatives. And, as her career progressed, she started giving back to the University through monthly gifts, making her first donation in 1990.

“It was always easy for me to give my time because I so enjoyed the camaraderie of working together to achieve a goal. And it eventually became easy to be a Waterloo donor because I had a surprisingly — to me, anyway — successful career at the University,” Sharon says.

Group of Waterloo volunteers in black T-shirts stand in front of a tractor

Sharon (front row, third from left) is a longtime volunteer with Waterloo's United Way campaign and the Faculty, Staff and Retiree Giving program.

As retirement approached, she created an award that benefits students who work at the Library and who are committed to the values of equality, diversity and inclusion. And in true Sharon style, she asked colleagues to contribute to the award, rather than to a retirement gift.

“These past few years have opened my eyes to other peoples’ experiences. Even when it felt like I had nothing, I had so much more than some. This award recognizes the need to treat others with respect and allows me to share the advantages I’ve been given.”